Last week I asked you to look at this photo, taken at Spa. I
wanted to know what were the cars? They were Borgward Isabellas, which if I
remember correctly, had a swing axle rear end, similar to the early Volkswagen.
Trying to correct that amount of oversteer would have been more than exciting!
So to this week. What car was called the ‘sticking plaster’ car?
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct answer to email
[email protected] Good luck!
Will we get the Aveo hatch?
The Aveo hatch was revealed late Monday by Chevrolet Europe ahead
of its official public debut at the Frankfurt motor show on September 11 and
its European release in March 2008.
Taking its name from the Kalos sedan, the Aveo hatch will replace the Daewoo
Kalos, which is known in Europe as the Chevrolet Kalos and in Australia as the
Holden Barina. Confused? Don’t worry, so is everyone else.
GM says the updated Kalos/Barina/Aveo hatch is a “completely reworked” model
with an all-new exterior and a “high-class” interior.
Far from all-new, the exterior appears to bring a new front-end with a large,
horizontally-split grille (complete with Chev bow-tie badge) and large, curved
clear-lens headlights similar to those on the Epica medium sedan.
Australia’s Barina (read Aveo) currently offers a 77 kW/145 Nm 1.6 liter four
cylinder, and it is unknown whether it will be joined by a new, more efficient
62 kW 1.2 liter petrol engine, which will be offered in Europe alongside the
existing 73 kW 1.4 liter petrol four, mated to a four-speed auto. What will we
Although not released yet, the pundits are saying that this new hatch will give
Chevrolet something to lure sales away from the Toyota Yaris and the (now aging)
Is your chauffeur awake?
The World Sleep Conference 07 has been held and the global
experts warned that prolonged sleep depravation can lead to heart problems,
diabetes, “burn out”, road accidents and even cancer.
You’ve all heard about a ‘good night’s sleep’ and the researchers really do
believe in it. Professor Charles Czeisler of Boston’s Harvard Medical School
said not sleeping for 24 hours slowed down reactions to the same extent as a
0.1 blood alcohol reading. “In Australia it is estimated that driver fatigue
accounts for 20 percent of all crashes and 30 percent of all single-vehicle
crashes here are thought to be related to driver fatigue,” he said.
Professor Czeisler continued, blaming ‘24/7 culture’ and modern work
stresses for the problem. “There are individuals who are working long hours
and then staying up all night playing video games or doing internet
chatting,” he said. No wonder the sales of caffeine based boosters is so
high. Check any taxi motorcycle stand, and then remember these are the guys
you are handing your life and livelihood to!
So how much sleep should you be getting (and your taxi motorcycle rider)?
According to the Professor, you need seven and a half hours every night. So,
G’night. Sleep well!
Into RV’s? Try this one for size!
Our ‘Editor at large’, John Weinthal, sent over this photograph
of the super RV, complete with its Mercedes runabout. This would have to be
the ultimate in RV snobbery, and the item did mention the cost. Built in
America (where else?), this super RV can be yours for only 2.5 million
dollars. The price does not include the Mercedes.
Try this for performance!
Zero to 100 kays is not the yardstick you need when dealing with
supercars. It is zero to 200 miles per hour (320 kays) to sort the men from
the boys. Yes, only in America could a magazine come up with such a
comparison test, but Road and Track rose to the challenge. They took over
the 15,550 foot runway of a US Navy air station in California and brought
together six of the world’s fastest and rarest supercars to see how quickly
they could get from a standing start to 200 mph. And the results were
The first startle came with the Lamborghini Murcielago and the Mercedes-Benz
SLR McLaren. Their zero to 200 mph times were unrecordable! They couldn’t
get there. Scratch two, only four left.
Next up was the Ruf 12, basically a Porsche Turbo on steroids. This
rocketship took 35.5 seconds to reach 200 mph and according to the tester,
it was a very comfortable drive. If you are not au fait with the Ruf name,
Alois Ruf has been modifying Porsches for 33 years in the quaintly named
Bavarian town of Pfaffenhausen. I have raced a Porsche Carrera against a Ruf
Porsche and can only tell you what the rear end looks like. I didn’t get to
see any more of the car.
Faster than the Ruf 12 was the Lingenfelter C6 Corvette. Similar to Alois
Ruf, but on the left hand side of the Atlantic, John Lingenfelter has been
taking US muscle cars and giving them even more muscle for 24 years. The
Lingenfelter C6 Corvette has a 7.0 liter 650 kW V8 in the business end of
the car and only took 26.5 seconds to get to 200 mph.
The Bugatti Veyron was next, and with 740 kW under the bonnet did zero to
200 mph in 24.2 seconds, which is around the time the company Daihatsu Mira
takes to 100 kph.
The big winner had 814 kW and a V10 up front, showing there’s no substitute
for cubic inches. This was the John Hennesy prepared V10 Dodge Viper which
did the 0-200 mph in 20.3 seconds. Apparently, according to R&T, it will sit
on 400 kph, and costs $300,000 ex-factory in Houston.
However, if you are looking at doing the ‘double ton’ on a budget, the
Lingenfelter C6 Corvette will only set you back around $160,000. So, what
will it be, Sir? One Viper or a pair of Corvettes?
What did we learn from the Belgian
We learned that despite all the acrimony in the law courts, the
drivers are still the best yardstick as to the competitiveness of the teams.
Ferrari was way above McLaren, and Raikkonen was a worthy winner, not
putting a wheel wrong for the entire race.
We also learned that behind the Kimi wooden face there is actually a ‘real’
person. The donut after the end of the race was a spontaneous display of
high spirits and his reply, when questioned about it at the press
conference, was even better. “I lost it,” said Kimi!
In a race where there was little to get excited about, it was good to see
Webber (Red Bull), Kubica (BMW) and Sutil (Spyker) demonstrating that F1
drivers are able to think out passing maneuvers and make them happen. Sutil,
in particular in the Spyker, was superb, up as high as 12th at one stage. A
spirited drive from the youngster, and a star of the future.
What else? I am honestly surprised that Sir Frank Williams continues to
soldier on with Alex Wurz. Undoubtedly he is a lovely chap, but that’s where
it ends. His team mate Nico Rosberg saying after the race, “I am absolutely
delighted with the result because today we were again the fourth placed team
and it really shows that we are making progress from one race to the next.
It’s also positive for me because a good car allows me to show what I can do
and I am now collecting points consistently.” And Alex? “Starting from 15th
on the grid was anything but ideal and it was terribly frustrating. But it
was all uphill because we had some fuel pressure problems during the race.
The problem got worse and worse, so I had to do an extra pit stop and try
and recover fuel pressure, but it didn’t work, so the team called me in
before things got worse. I think it is easy to understand why I am not happy
with today’s result.” He’s not happy? Sir Frank hasn’t been happy all year,
The Japanese auto giants Toyota and Honda must be building portable ritual
hara-kiri booths by this stage. Rubens Barrichello said it all, “This has
been a pretty frustrating weekend for us because we have been struggling
with the car from start to finish.” This is not the first season for these
two teams and they are now consistent back markers. Time for a clear-out and
start again, beginning with the drivers.
The next GP is at the Fuji circuit in Japan. A new venue for the current F1
circus. Let us hope we get a better race than that from Spa.